How To Fill Acrylic Nails at Home

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There are a lot of different manicure options out there, but acrylic nails are the way for many. But even after the manicure, it’s not just done and dusted when you get these nails!

You gotta maintain those talons!

The most common maintenance is a nail fill. It can be a costly hassle to get a fill, especially since you’ll need to do this every couple of weeks. Many want to save some cash with a little DIY.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to fill in acrylic nails at home. We’ll go over the tools you need and the process you have to go through. You’ll be able to save a little cash on nail fills, which you can put toward your next manicure!


What is a Nail Fill?

The first thing one has to understand when dealing with acrylics is that there is no need to get a new set once your current set grows out.

You can simply fill them in by using acrylic powder.

By doing this, you’re going to save not only time but cash — we all know acrylics can get expensive

Typically you will start to see a gap between your cuticle and your acrylic nail, which is the area that will need to be filled in.

Most of the time, this occurs between two and three weeks.

Once this growth begins to be prevalent, it can detract from the beauty of the nail art that you paid so much for. So finding a way to keep it looking sharp for longer is a must.

Tools Necessary to Fill in Acrylic Nails at Home

Obviously, you are not a professional and you probably don’t have the full suite of tools available to you. However, if you’re looking to fill in your acrylic nails at home, you have to have some necessary tools on hand.

Here is a list of the must-have tools to ensure a good result when filling in those acrylic nails:

  • Nail file
  • Nail buffer
  • Acrylic liquid & powder
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Nail primer & dehydrator
  • Acrylic dish & brush

You can also invest in a nail drill for those who want a more effective and versatile tool. This is especially great if you’re looking for an infill.

There are also nail fill kits available at many stores that will encompass most of the tools listed above.

How To Fill In Acrylic Nails at Home: A Step by Step Look

Once you have gathered together all your tools, you are ready to start filling in those acrylic nails. The process of doing so is quite simple and takes just six steps.

1. Remove Nail Polish

You’re going to want to start by removing the old polish from the current set of acrylics. Using cotton balls and your acetone-free nail polish remover, you’ll want to ensure that you get all of it from the entire nail.

After you have removed the nail polish, you’ll want to wash your hands so that you have a clean surface to work with.

2. Buffing and Cuticle Pushing

Nail growth may have caused the bottom of the acrylic to begin to lift up. You want to remove this to have a smooth nail when all this is said and done. This can be done by using a rough nail buffer at the bottom where the lift has begun to appear.

You can also use this buffer to get rid of any bumps so that you can have the smoothest base possible.

3. Dehydrator/Nail Primer

After you have finished filing and buffing, you need to ensure there’s absolutely no dust leftover from the process.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to take a cuticle pusher and get rid of any excess cuticle or dry skin.

Then you can use a nail dehydrator to get rid of any excess oil from your nails. Following that, use two to three coats of your nail primer to finish this step of the process.

4. Acrylic Mixture

While you let your nails completely dry out, you can then take your acrylic dish and acrylic powder and create the mixture that you’re going to use to fill.

Taking your clean acrylic brush, get a small bead on the bottom and then gently apply that to your natural nail where the gap between the cuticle and the acrylic edge is. 

You want to use a small amount — you don’t want to overfill! Fill until you have a smooth base. You can also use the side of the brush to get the corners.

5. Dry/File/Buffer

Once the mixture has been applied, let the acrylic dry completely. Once it has dried, you can use your nail file to shape and size the finished product.

The last step is to buffer so that you have a smooth look and the shape you’re looking for.

6. Reapply Nail Polish

Now all that’s needed is to apply your nail polish once again!

Start with a base coat of whatever color you’re looking for, and then most people would suggest finishing off with the top coat for the best look (base coat and top coat are different, don’t mix them up!).

Though the best option is always to use acrylic powder as a way to fill, there are a couple of other methods you can utilize as well.

You can use polygel, dip powder, or gel/regular nail polish. Still, all of them will not give you as good results as using acrylic powder, so we’re not going to go in-depth into the processes of using them. 

Final Thoughts

It’s always nice to keep your nails fresh and new. But going to the salon every two to three weeks to get a new set of acrylics can become quite costly and time-consuming.

Filling your nails is definitely do-able, and along with acrylic nail removal, can be done pretty easily at home, as long as you have the right tools and confidence.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).